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Disbarred pro-abortion lawyers sue abortionist for violating Texas Heartbeat Act to overturn the law

Ashley Sadler

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‘Neither of these lawsuits are valid attempts to save innocent human lives,’ said Texas Right to Life in a press release Monday.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (LifeSiteNews) — A Texas doctor who publicly admitted that he performed an abortion in violation of the state’s law is being sued for his actions, but a prominent Texas pro-life group says the lawsuits are “self-serving legal stunts.”

As reported by the Texas Tribune, at least two lawsuits were filed Monday against abortionist Dr. Alan Braid in what is set to be the first test of the Lone Star State’s new law banning almost all abortions.

Both challenges were filed by disbarred attorneys whose lawsuits appear to be focused on subjecting the law to court review with the aim of getting it overturned.

“Neither of these lawsuits are valid attempts to save innocent human lives,” said Texas Right to Life in a press release Monday. “Both cases are self-serving legal stunts, abusing the cause of action created in the Texas Heartbeat Act for their own purposes.”

As previously reported by LifeSite, on September 1 Texas became the first state in the nation to effectively ban abortions on babies with beating hearts after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block it. The bill, dubbed the Texas Heartbeat Act, was signed in May by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and prohibits abortion if a heartbeat can be detected (generally as early as six weeks).

Relying on a unique enforcement mechanism, the legislation empowers private citizens to bring civil suits against abortionists, instead of the state prosecuting violators.

The pro-life law is set to be tested by the courts due to the spurious legal actions taken against the San Antonio doctor who publicly announced he broke the new law.

OB/GYN Dr. Alan R. Braid said he violated the abortion ban by performing a first-trimester abortion just days after the law went into effect.

A doctor says he performed an abortion on Sept. 6 that violated Texas's new law. "I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care," Physician Alan Braid writes in an op-ed.

“[O]n the morning of Sept. 6, I provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state’s new limit,” Braid wrote in a Washington Post opinion column published Saturday.

Braid said he’s aware he ran afoul of the law “by providing an abortion beyond the new legal limit,” and acknowledged he was “taking a personal risk.”

However, he argued he was willing to do so because abortion is “something I believe in strongly.”

The abortionist said he “wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested.”

To “test” the allegedly “unconstitutional law,” disbarred attorney and Illinois resident Felipe N. Gomez, who identified himself as a “Pro Choice Plaintiff,” filed a lawsuit against Braid with the Bexar County court.

As reported by KSAT, Gomez aligned himself with the defendant and said he filed the lawsuit in an effort to have Texas’ law declared unconstitutional “and in violation of Roe v. Wade.”

But Braid is not the only one seeking to gain something from the case.

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The Texas Tribune reported that another lawsuit was filed Monday by another disbarred attorney, Oscar Stilley of Cedarville, Arkansas.

Stilley had been stripped of his legal license after being convicted of tax fraud in 2010. According to a report by the Southwest Times Record, Stilley “is currently serving a 15-year home confinement sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy” and “hasn’t filed federal income tax since the 1980s.”

Like Gomez, Stilley described himself as pro-abortion and said his lawsuit is intended to force the court to review the law.

“I’m not gonna let this thing fester so doctors are afraid. I want a prompt and honest decision,” Stilley said. “Let’s find out if this thing is the law … if it is, let’s live by it, if not let’s get it struck down.”

Stilley said he is also looking to cash in on the $10,000 in statutory relief which would be granted him if his lawsuit against Braid turns out to be successful.

Texas Right to Life said it believes Braid attempted to lure rash legal actions by his Post op-ed, but none have surfaced from legitimate pro-life groups.

“We believe Braid published his op-ed intending to attract imprudent lawsuits, but none came from the Pro-Life movement,” the group wrote, promising that it “is resolute in ensuring the Texas Heartbeat Act is fully enforced.”

Texas Right to Life expressed confidence that “Braid’s effort will fail just like the abortion industry’s other legal attacks on the law so far.”

Noting that Texas’ law “was certainly subject to a challenge eventually,” Citizens for a Pro-Life Society Director Monica Miller, Ph.D., suggested caution in an email to LifeSite Tuesday.

“I think we have to admit that there is the danger that a hostile, pro-abortion [judge] will rule the law unconstitutional,” Miller said.

According to Miller, appeals to higher courts would be likely in the event of such a ruling, with the case then potentially going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Such a course of events may be precisely what is intended by the lawyers bringing legal action against Braid. According to Miller, “it appears that at least on one level the baby aborted by abortionist Alan Braid is shamefully being exploited by him — a sacrificial victim to his perverted political agenda.”

“This is about as perverted and twisted as it gets,” Miller said.

Meanwhile, Braid has been lauded by pro-abortion advocates who have extolled his “bravery” for committing an abortion in violation of Texas law and publicly announcing it.

“This is an act of remarkable bravery from Alan Braid,” wrote feminist columnist and author Jill Filipovic.

Dr. Braid, who said he has delivered more than 10,000 babies during his career and has “daughters, granddaughters and nieces,” said he believes that “abortion is an essential part of health care.”

The abortionist said he is being represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, a global abortion advocacy group, and that his “clinics are among the plaintiffs in an ongoing federal lawsuit to stop S.B. 8 [The Heartbeat Act].”

“Going to court is practically Corporate Abortion’s favorite thing,” Students for Life spokesperson Kristi Hamrick told LifeSite in an email Tuesday. “It was inevitable that the abortion industry lawyers profiting from this for decades would find a way to create or leverage a challenge to the Texas law.”

Hamrick, who is also the chief media and policy strategist for the non-profit pro-life group, which organizes young people in the fight against abortion, said, “Corporate Abortion has abused our legal system since Roe v. Wade, to force abortion into the Constitution and into state laws, as judges have legislated from the bench.”

Addressing the uniqueness of Texas’ approach in delegating authority to private citizens to sue abortionists, Hamrick said the Lone Star State has “tried a novel approach in empowering people to act in the defense of those in the womb.”

“[O]ur legal system has too often abandoned its mandate to protect and serve all of us, born and preborn,” Hamrick added.

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, told LifeSite in an email Tuesday, “[t]his is new territory and the pro-life movement needs to be patient as everyone together — including the Supreme Court — learns how this type of law is actually going to play out.”

Pavone said that “one thing we know for sure” is that the Texas Heartbeat Act as it stands “is saving lives and that is something about which we should rejoice.”